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UN Convention
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UN Convention on the Rights of the Child


One of the most important milestones in the fight against child exploitation of all kinds was the passing in 1989 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 34 pledged the following:


“States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:

(a) The inducement of coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;

(b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;

(c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials”.


To date, all but two UN member states have ratified this Child Rights Convention; for a specific country’s ratification history, please consult the travel destinations section.


The UN encourages member states to develop national plans of action to promote child welfare in accordance with the Convention. The implementation of these plans is then monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which requires countries to submit regular State Reports; as well as by NGO's such as terre des hommes, Defence for Children International, Save the Children or ECPAT, who offer a Model National Plan of Action as a resource.